(Chicago, March 17, 2011) - On every third Wednesday in March Illinois' House and Senate are required to adopt a joint resolution that is equivalent to a family deciding how much it will have available to spend in next year's budget. The day was yesterday, March 16, and just like the past three years the legislators blatantly ignored the law.
"This law is in place because only after understanding your funds available can you decide how much to spend," asserted Sheila Weinberg, founder & CEO of the Institute for Truth in Accounting. "This is the first step in budgeting. Our legislators need to follow this law and take Budgeting 101."
The Illinois Constitution provides that the general assembly can only spend the "funds estimated to be available" for the budget year. State statute 25ILCS 155/4 requires the Commission on Government Finance and Accountability (CGFA) to submit to the legislature an estimate of that amount. The House and Senate may debate the accuracy of the CGFA figure, but the legislators must adopt some estimate of the funds available to be spend in the fiscal year 2012.
"Disregard for this law helps explains why Illinois is in such financial trouble," remarked Roger Nelson, chairman of the Institute and former vice chair of Ernst & Young. "The law requiring the legislators to acknowledge the amount of funds they will have available to spend is there for good reason. Without it the legislators cannot determine if they are meeting the balanced budget requirement."
About the Institute for Truth in Accounting
The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) is dedicated to promoting honest, accurate, and transparent accounting at all levels of government and business. As a non-partisan, non-profit organization, the IFTA works to expose accounting deficiencies while promoting better, more accessible delivery of accurate government financial data--and, in turn, providing a foundation for more informed public policy. The IFTA provides its expertise to develop more effective accounting standards and deliver accurate government financial information to policymakers, opinion leaders, and citizens, so they can all work for a more secure financial future. To learn more, please visit our website at www.TruthInAccounting.org.